Summary: In this message we will see some awesome things about the faith of the Thessalonian Christians that should inspire us to a deeper faith. (1 Thessalonians pt-1)
"A FAITH WORTH TALKING ABOUT"
Today we begin our study of the book of I Thessalonians -- it will be a great study from the word of God. I will preach 6 messages on sunday mornings from this book.
In Paul’s day, 200,000 people lived there -- most were Greeks, but there were also many Romans and a strong Jewish minority.
In Acts chapter 17, Luke records for us Paul’s initial visit to Thessalonica, it was during the apostle’s second missionary journey. When Paul, Timothy and Silas arrived in Thessalonica -- they spend 3 weeks teaching and preaching in the synagogues, Luke record:
"HE REASONED WITH THEM FROM SCRIPTURES, EXPLAINING AND PROVING THAT THE CHRIST HAD TO SUFFER, AND RISE FROM THE DEAD. AND SAYING TO THEM -- `THIS JESUS I AM PROCLAIMING TO YOU IS THE CHRIST (WHICH MEANS SAVIOR...")
And in response to Paul’s preaching some Jews, a large number of God - fearing Greeks and some prominent women were persuaded by Paul and accepted Christ...
But not all the Jews that were in the city appreciated Paul... some became jealous -- and since that had money they hired some thugs from the market place to form a mob, and they started a riot in the city. The mob stormed and broke into the house where Paul and Silas were staying (it belonged to a man named Jason).... and when they didn’t find Paul and Silas in the house they drug Jason and some other brothers before the city officials... they accused them of harboring men who were proclaiming treason against Caesar -- by claiming that a man name Jesus is King. Jason and the other brothers were released on bail, and that very night under the cover of darkness Paul, Timothy and Silas were smuggled out of town.
They went from there to Berea (about 50 miles from Thessalonica -- and when the mob learned they were in Berea, they saddled up their camels and headed to Berea stirring up more trouble for Paul, forcing him to flee to the coast and take a ship to Athens to escape their fury, while Timothy and Silas stayed in Berea.
Some time later, Paul was reunited with Timothy and Silas in Corinth. Now Paul, was still concerned about the church in Thessalonica -- it was a young church and he had to leave so hastily. So Paul sent Timothy to Thesalonica to find out how they were doing, and to also according I Thessalonians 3:2, "TO STRENGTHEN AND ENCOURAGE THEM IN THEIR FAITH.."
Paul was still in Corinth, when Timothy returned with news form Thessalonica. And it was from Corinth that Paul wrote both of his letter to the church there... So the book that we will study this month is a letter that Paul wrote to a young church ( a church he established, loved and carded for) a letter written in response to Timothy’s report of both, their faith and their struggles...
Today’s message is entitled, A FAITH, WORTH TALKING ABOUT
What does it mean to be a model?
And no I am not talking about the kind of models who adorn the cover of magazines.
What does it mean, when someone says;
"YOU’RE A MODEL -- STUDENT" "HE IS A MODEL FATHER..."
"SHE IS A MODEL MOTHER.." "JOE IS A MODEL EMPLOYEE"
What does it mean to be a model? It means, that we are doing something so well that it warrants others doing the same thing... Listen to what Paul says to the church in Thessalonica;
I THESSALONIANS 1:7,8 (READ IT TWICE)
WHAT IS PAUL SAYING ABOUT THE THESSALONIANS?
He is saying that they are a model to all believers....
He is saying that all believers can learn something about living the Christian life from them -- even you...
Paul is saying that if any church or any Christian, is like those in Thessalonica, they will be well rooted and well on their way down the right track...
Bros, there is so much that we can learn from this church. Paul in closing this letter makes a statement that is not found in any other of his letters, He writes; "I CHARGE YOU BEFORE THE LORD TO HAVE THIS LETTER READ TO ALL THE BROTHERS...."
WHY, WAS THE THESSALONIAN CHURCH A MODEL FOR ALL CHURCHES. for ALL FOR ALL BELIEVERS?
WHY, WAS THEIRS A FAITH WORTH TALKING ABOUT?
BUT, WHAT MADE THEM SO SPECIAL? -- WHAT WERE THEY DOING THAT WAS SO RIGHT?
WELL FRIENDS THAT’S OUR JOB TODAY -- TO DISCOVER WHAT IT IS WE ARE TO MODEL....
1. WE ARE TO MODEL THEIR WORK WHICH WAS PRODUCED BY FAITH...
Paul says that the work of the Thessalonians was produced by faith... And this seems to agree with what James says in the second chapter of his letter that faith, "without works is dead..." which means that true faith will always result in works for god...